9 dead, dozens injured in suicide bombing of Christian church in Pakistan
Two suicide bombers have attacked a Christian church in southwestern Pakistan, killing 9 people and injuring over 50 others, according to medics.
The attack took place in the city of Quetta, the provincial capital and largest city of Balochistan province. Bethel Memorial Methodist Church was the target of the terrorists.
According to Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Ahmad Bugti, two suicide bombers attacked the church. One bomber was shot dead outside; the other blew himself up inside the church, he added. Both attackers were also reportedly carrying weapons, Bugti stated.
“Police were quick to react and stop the attackers from entering the main hall,” provincial police chief Moazzam Jah told AFP, adding that there were around 400 worshipers inside the church at the time of the incedent.
Attack of terrorists on Zarghoon road church in Quetta is condemned. Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism cannot be deterred by these cowardly acts.— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) December 17, 2017
Quetta’s Civil Hospital spokesman Wasim Baig said that 9 people, including two women, were killed and 57 others wounded in the attack. Four women and two children were among the injured, he added.
Dozens of Christians staged a rally outside the hospital to protest the government’s inability to protect them, AP reported.
Later on Sunday Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, Reuters reported, citing the group’s affiliated website Amaq.
Christians, comprising around 2 million of Pakistan’s 200-million population, have been targeted in several attacks by Islamic radicals in recent years. 85 people were killed in twin suicide bombings in a church in Peshawar in 2013, while suicide attacks on two churches in the city of Lahore in 2015 left 15 people dead.